RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian feminist Sara Winter used to work to legalize abortion. She was one of the founders of a radical group that carries out offensive topless protests at churches.
Now, she says people should learn from religious women who put their faith into action — and reject the powerful forces promoting abortion in her country.
What changed her mind? The birth of her child.
“I understand I made a huge mistake, and I ask forgiveness from the bottom of my heart. The way to achieve public-policy changes for women has nothing to do with mocking people’s religions,” she said in a Dec. 15 Facebook post.
“What I was missing was love (which changed when I became a mother), love that came to me after having reflected a lot on today’s militant feminism,” she said.
Sara Winter is the pseudonym of Sara Fernanda Giromin. Three years ago, she was one of the founders of the Brazilian branch of Femen, a radical feminist organization of sometimes violent, often offensive, activists who protest topless in favor of abortion and homosexual activism.
Winter asked for forgiveness “from all those people, whether religious or not, that I offended during a feminist protest last year involving a same-sex kiss in front of a church in Rio de Janeiro.”
Last month, she denounced international funding to promote abortion in Brazil. She asked forgiveness for having been “part of that scheme to get abortion legalized.”
“But I never knew that all that talk about legalizing abortion in Brazil had been the work of organizations controlled by tycoons, rich men interested in reducing my country’s population.”
Sara confessed that she had always thought that an abortion was “something every woman should be able to get.”
“I’m not waving that flag anymore. I don’t agree with women being jailed for having an abortion, I think they should always be treated with compassion, but I’m against the promotion of abortion being carried out by the feminist NGOs.”
The young woman also encouraged feminists “to learn from women who are religious.” While feminists are “putting on ridiculous protests (I myself used to be one of them), which are embarrassing to women, there are women of faith with homes protecting rape victims and other women giving life by providing housing, taking in women in dangerous situations and providing all kinds of assistance.”
“There are a lot of NGOs and institutions that need a helping hand and volunteers to care for the victims of violence, so let’s get going: Help them; do your part. Take care of, assist and love other women,” she encouraged her readers.
Sara first began to speak about this radical turnabout in her life in October 2015.
“I regret having an abortion, and today I’m asking for forgiveness,” she wrote on Facebook Oct. 14, almost one month after the birth of her second child. Since her baby was born, she said, “my life has taken on new meaning.”
“I don’t want you to go through the same thing I did,” she told her readers.
Years before, she underwent an abortion using a drug provided by a feminist.
“I almost bled to death and had very serious complications,” she recalled, adding that the person who came to her aid in those circumstances was a man who had “no connection to radical feminism.”
On abortion, she urged, “Feminism should be focusing more on taking care of women, instead of putting their lives at risk.” She said her prior abortion had caused difficulties early in her second pregnancy.
Sara has also become a critic of transgender ideology. She explained that she has no animus against people who say they are transgender, but she added, “I don’t think that changing your clothes, getting silicone breast implants and making the transition with hormones and surgery can change anybody’s sex.”
By mid-November, Sara was urging Brazilian feminists to “respect women who are religious believers.” Although she has no religious affiliation, she said that “one of the things I regret in my life is pulling away from God and devoting all my time to militant feminism.”
“Having faith is not a retrogression, and other people’s religion needs to be respected,” she urged.
Sara said that she has faced a hostile reaction from the feminist faction she abandoned.
“You have no idea of the reprisals I’ve been a victim of coming from the feminists,” she wrote. “I’m afraid of even stepping out on to the street with my baby, but I have faith that all this is going to go away.”
In early December, Sara published a short digital book about “seven times I was betrayed by the feminist movement.” The book is a compilation of the bizarre experiences she says she had as part of the Brazilian feminist movement, involving orgies, alcohol, drugs and misuse of funds.
For every book sold, she has offered to donate a Brazilian real (about 25 cents) to “initiatives helping women in violent situations and against abortion.”
Sara stated that “feminism has a cure, and I’m the greatest proof of that.”
She said the main reason Brazilian people do not like the feminists is because most of them act hysterically and use social media “to mock and humiliate religious people, preach hatred against men, besides being extremists and disrespectful of other people’s religious heritage.”
She said, “I’m just as guilty. I used to be like that too, but thanks be to God I’ve been healed.”